Think About Your Eyes thrives with industry support

December 16, 2014

A year and a half after the Think About Your Eyes campaign launched to bring attention to the need for regular eye exams, the campaign is seeing results thanks to support from industry partners.

A year and a half after the Think About Your Eyes campaign launched to bring attention to the need for regular eye exams, the campaign is seeing results thanks to support from industry partners.

This year, the campaign saw more than 940 million consumer impressions, including 400,000 national radio spots, 3,800 national cable TV spots, and more than 460,000 visitors to its website. And all that consumer attention has helped to increase patient visits for eyecare professionals.

“The tens of millions of dollars’ worth of Think About Your Eyes ads have been increasing eye health awareness nationally and convincing more and more Americans to get eye exams from their AOA doctor of optometry,” says David Cockrell, OD, president of the American Optometric Association (AOA).

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The campaign represents a win-win for both doctors and their patients. It is one of those rare instances in which “doing good” and “doing well” match up perfectly, says Dave Plogmann, managing director of Think About Your Eyes. “We all know that there is a massive need and opportunity for Americans to get more regular eye exams and to take better care of both their vision and their overall health-that is the ‘do good’ part.

“For the first time, we have figured out how to impact this behavior on a sustainable, measurable and broad scale,” he says. “As we also know, when eye exams grow, there is a corresponding lift in all of the related categories associated with optometry, including frame sales, lens sales, contact lens sales, and much more. This is the ‘doing well’ part. This growth supports and drives the funding necessary to make this campaign work.”

 

Industry lends its support

The campaign, which is a partnership between The Vision Council and the AOA, has found support from a number of leaders in the vision care industry-including companies like Essilor, Luxottica, Transitions, and Eschenbach, among others. Alcon is one of the most recent companies to declare support for the campaign.

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“With Alcon joining, coupled with our existing partnerships with Essilor and Luxottica, we now are supported by a trifecta of the industry’s most influential eye care leaders in all segments of the space,” says Plogmann. “When you add in support from the American Optometric Association and The Vision Council-we have a powerful lineup of visionary leaders in optometry. Additionally, we have an outstanding and growing base of support from multiple other companies throughout the category.”

Since the campaign went national in July 2013, there has been a five percent increase in eye exams in the United States. Creating public awareness on the importance of eye exams has been a benefit to patient, practitioner, and the industry-which is why some companies say they decided to lend their support.

“We have spent a lot of time this past year talking with optometrists about what we need to do to transform eye care,” says Eric Bruno, general manager of U.S. Vision Care at Alcon. “As the only major contact lens manufacturer supporting Think About Your Eyes, Alcon is able to bring marketing expertise to help shape different campaign elements that are designed to engage consumers and eyecare professionals.”

The impact the campaign is having for eyecare professionals has made the industry take notice, says Essilor Senior Vice President of Customer Development Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO.

“With eye exams increasing, eyecare professionals are definitely benefiting from this industry-wide investment in creating awareness of the importance of the eye exam,” he says

2015 and beyond

According to Plogmann, the campaign finished its strongest quarter ever with a 7.6 percent increase in eye exams during Q3 of this year. That growth was particularly noted in independent practices, which saw a 9.1 percent increase in eye exams that quarter. The campaign has also seen an increase in patients getting an eye exam for the first time and those patients under the age of 18.

The Think About Your Eyes team plans to continue that success into 2015, when it expects to see more than one million website visitors, but it will look to build increased support from both independent eyecare providers and companies within the industry.

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“Speaking frankly, there are still too many companies, both big and small, currently sitting on the sidelines when it comes to supporting Think About Your Eyes,” says Plogmann. “To be successful and sustainable, it is essential that we see continued expansion of support from other companies throughout the vision space.”

Plogmann also emphasized the need for more independent eyecare professionals to support the campaign through a listing on the website’s Doctor Locator so that it can be representative of the full range of optometric practices in America.

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